The French defence procurement agency (DGA) has awarded Safran Electronics & Defense (ex-Sagem) an order for new AASM Block 4 modular air-to-ground weapons.
The DGA says the order requires the manufacturer to develop a new standard of the weapon, allowing a significant reduction in cost while retaining identical performance, and to double its production capacity and generate new jobs in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Brittany regions.
Originally designed and manufactured by Sagem for French Air Force and Navy Rafales, the AASM family consists of guidance and range-extension kits that are mounted on NATO-standard bomb bodies.
The weapons are regularly used by the French Air Force and Navy during out-of-area operations. The DGA underlines the AASM’s flexibility of use, its ability to function in any weather condition, and its extreme precision.
The AASM is available in several versions, depending on the type of guidance: inertial/GPS, inertial/GPS + infrared imaging, and inertial/GPS + laser. It can be launched at standoff distance and reach any kind of fixed or moving ground target. Firing can be pre-programmed or the target can de designated by the pilot while in flight.
The weapons are being ordered in several tranches. Initial deliveries will take place in 2019. To date, more than 1,700 AASM have been delivered to the French armed forces.